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The way that Raiders receiver Antonio Brown injured his feet is strange. The way the Raiders are handling the situation is stranger.
Brown froze his feet by failing to wear proper foot protection in a cryotherapy chamber. He has missed nine of 10 practices in camp, with no clear indication as to when he’ll be back.
But the team won’t talk about it. Coach Jon Gruden has declined on multiple occasions to address the nature of the injury. More recently, owner Mark Davis tiptoed around the foot question in an interview with Vic Tafur of TheAthletic.com.
“You’d have to ask someone else about that,” Davis said. “I’m an ‘M.D.,’ but I’m not a foot doctor. But I’ll say this, just watching him [when he did] practice, nobody works harder than this guy. And I’ve seen some of the best, Cliff [Branch] and everyone else. Antonio doesn’t have the straight-line speed that Cliff had, but he might have more football speed. And the way he can control it and everything.”
That’s good, but it’s not good that Brown can’t practice. And it’s bizarre that no one will talk about it, especially since the Raiders are the subject of this year’s Hard Knocks. The first episode mentioned a problem with Brown’s feet, but steered clear of explaining what the problem was.
The Raiders clearly don’t want to make Brown look stupid for suffering a self-inflicted injury that will delay his preparations for his first season in Oakland, and they likewise don’t want to make themselves look stupid for trading for Brown. But the facts are the facts; a clumsy effort to cover it all up makes a strange situation seem downright goofy.